Officials vow to boost graft fight

08:18, December 30, 2010      

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Authorities vowed greater efforts in fighting corruption while admitting that the problem is "still very serious" after releasing figures on Wednesday that showed a total of 113,000 officials were punished from January to November for corruption, up 6 percent year-on-year.

Officials on the frontline of the anti-corruption campaign pledged to work harder to crush the problem and win the public's confidence after the State Council Information Office released the country's first white paper on the fight against graft, a move that was welcomed by experts as a step toward openness.

Of the 113,000 officials that were punished, 4,332 had been handed over to judicial authorities for further investigation, Wu Yuliang, secretary-general of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China (CPC), told a news conference.

Disciplinary authorities across the country placed 119,000 graft-related cases under investigation in the first 11 months of the year, he said, an increase of 3 percent over the same period last year.

Wu also said that the CCDI has made, and will continue to make, efforts to reduce the number of cars bought and used by Party and governmental organs nationwide.

Compared to last year, Party and government departments across the country reduced spending on foreign trips, vehicle purchases and receptions by 5.7 billion yuan ($860 million). However, the exact amount actually spent was not disclosed.

Wu said that the CPC and the central government have a clear understanding of the anti-corruption issue, and have adopted resolute measures to curb graft.

The release of the white paper was to show the international community efforts being taken to tackle the problem, he said.

The white paper said China's efforts to combat corruption and build a clean government have achieved notable results.

It quoted a National Bureau of Statistics survey as saying that 83.8 percent of Chinese thought corruption had been reduced in 2010, up from 68.1 percent in 2003.

But it acknowledged that the country is still faced with "long-haul, complicated and arduous anti-graft missions", with social conflict increasing since the country has undergone dramatic change, and the ideas and concepts of the people have altered.

"Since the relevant mechanisms and systems are still incomplete, corruption persists, some cases even involving huge sums of money," the report said. "Breaches of law and discipline tend to be more covert, intelligent and complicated."

The latest high-ranking official investigated for alleged "severe violation of discipline" was Liu Zhuozhi, vice-chairman of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, the CCDI announced on Dec 15.

Experts hailed the release of the white paper.

"The significance of the publication lies in the fact that people will know clearly the situation, measures and effects of the anti-corruption campaign," said Zhu Lijia, a professor on anti-corruption research at the Chinese Academy of Governance.

The report will help eliminate bias and misunderstanding about China's anti-graft battle as it details both achievements and problems, said He Zengke, a researcher at the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau, a prominent research institute on Marxism and Chinese policies.

"It'll help people develop a correct, objective and comprehensive understanding of China," he said.

However, while addressing why the country continues to see such a high number of corrupt officials, Zhu said officials are still enjoying excessive power.

"Meanwhile, the public lacks effective means to supervise officials," he said. "And I think the punishment given to most corrupt officials is still too light."

Cao Yin and Xinhua contributed to this story.

By Wang Jingqiong, China Daily
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